Shout out to Mrs. Brooks, Grade 6 teacher at St. Bernard's Catholic Elementary School, for allowing us to share her blog post.
NEW Class Pet
The students were introduced to our school's adorable addition which has lit up our lives since we met yesterday. There were "oohs" and "aahs" when he (?) performed a trick or listened to commands. The kids spent the better part of the morning chasing him around the gym, picking him up and carrying him around. He has lots of energy for about 60 minutes but then needs a nap to "recharge".
The kids want him to become our class pet even though he belongs to the whole school. They're even thinking of teaching him some new tricks like delivering attendance to the office.
His name is *Sphero® and we met at a Tech Summit hosted by our neighbouring high school, FJ Brennan.
*I am in no way affiliated with the Sphero® company or founders and am not being compensated for this post. I'm just blogging the observations I had, as an educator of 12 year olds, on the particular day that they were introduced to this technology genius. Sorry! I'm trying to present an unbiased view...maybe failing?
Although Sphero® is a robotic toy, he seemed to provide many of the same benefits as an actual pet.
1. Builds Family Bonds: We often refer to our class as a family. When working with Sphero®, the kids were focused on activities they could do together. They collaborated and shared creative ideas. Towards the end of the day, a group of 5-6 kids revisited Sphero® in the hopes of programming him using MakeyMakey®. That was taking everything they had learned at the Tech Summit and bringing it to the next level!
2. Helps with Learning: Enough said! Like a pet with paws, Sphero® is non-judgemental and this is encouraging to students. Every student had an entry level into the technology of this robot. How it performed was limited only by their imagination.
3. Encourages more Physical Activity: Kids are using a computer device to make Sphero® go. When first introduced to him, they wanted to see how fast he could move and so, spent time, chasing him around the gym. Like "pet parents" in the dog parks, while running around after their own Sphero®, these kids did ask about other groups' Sphero® so it was a bridge between less social students because they were communicating!
*added bonus? no clean-up required!
After exploring with Sphero®, yesterday, one of the students is trying to spark a movement to convince our principal that a 12-pack of Sphero® ($1700 CDN) would make a top notch investment. I see persuasive writing, campaign writing, poster propaganda, ads written for announcements as an attempt to win her over!
Are your students on the ball?